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  • Colombia Emergency Response to Flooding in the North/DRR program manager

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Colombia Emergency Response to Flooding in the North/DRR program manager

Mercy Corps

Program/department summary

Mercy Corps has been operating in Colombia since 2006. Mercy Corps’ activities are currently in Child Protection, Conflict Management, Emergency Response, and Urban Initiatives. In August 2011, Mercy Corps was awarded a $5 million USAID Food for Peace Program (CERFN, Colombia Emergency Response to Flooding in the North) to provide emergency assistance to 45,540 flood victims in the departments of Atlántico and Córdoba in Northern Colombia. This one-year program operates with two local partners, the Diócesis de Montlíbano in Córdoba and the Pastoral Social/CARITAS in Atlántico. The program furnishes five essential products to hard-hit communities in flooded areas, presenting logistical challenges as well as operating in an unsecure environment, particularly in Córdoba. The CERFN program has two distinct components – emergency food to malnourished families and food for work (FFW) during the recovery phase. In addition, Mercy Corps is operating a psycho-social assistance project funded by the Seattle Sounders, and disaster risk reduction projects financed by Xylem and another emergency response project involving vouchers for work. These projects are between 4 and 12 months in duration and are implemented in the Atlántico department. They also fall under the responsibility of the CERFN/DRR Program Manager.

General position summary

The primary function of the CERFN/DRR Program Manager is to 1) design, manage and oversee the implementation of Mercy Corps emergency response intervention in the Córdoba and Atlántico Departments, 2) support program/project staff and partners in the implementation of program activities to reach expected results and donor requirements, 3) assist the Mercy Corps office in Colombia in the design and development of new programs and projects in line with Mercy Corps strategic approach in Colombia. The CERFN/DRR Program Manager will provide technical and programmatic support with the Mercy Corps and partner field teams and program/project staff, as well as oversee project reporting and outcomes. The CERFN/DRR Program Manager will focus on building the capacity of field staff and implementing partners in the technical expertise for program/project implementation. The FFP/DRR Program Manager is expected to spend approximately 80% of his/her time on the CERFN program and 20% of his/her time supervising, monitoring and designing other programs within the DRR portfolio.

Essential job functions

Program implementation:

• Assume responsibility for all aspects of CERFN’s implementation and management.
• Manage the privately-funded emergency response grant including a voucher for work component
• Ensure that program implementation is cohesive and responsive to communities and partners and aligned with Mercy Corps principles, values and strategic plan.
• Oversee performance of consortium partners and sub-grantees, and initiate new agreements as necessary.
• Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites.
• Work closely with the Country Director, advisors and consultants, Finance and Administration Manager and the Procurement Coordinator to ensure the develop of contractual arrangements for the purchase and delivery of food commodities to program sites. Ensure that the commodities are delivered on time to warehouses and maintain the highest quality standards.
• Working closely with the technical support staff and partners, set up all logistical arrangements for distributing food & vouchers to needy families in communities and shelters.

Monitoring & evaluation (M&E) and reporting:

• Facilitate the achievement of program targets and objectives and lead efforts to design effective M&E systems for the program, and linkages with internal M&E systems.
• Ensure that partners have necessary tools, systems and capacity to meet reporting commitments in a timely manner
• Oversee the scheduling and production of formal and informal reports on all aspects of the program in a timely and efficient manner.
• Produce written reports on the program activities capturing impacts related to all activities, as required by the Donor.

Coordination and representation:

• Coordinate and form alliances as appropriate with institutional stakeholders, namely DRG, Colombia Humanitaria, Regional and Municipal authorities, UN Agencies (FAO, WFP, UNICEF, etc.) and other NGO operators supporting activities in program areas. Ensure that information on project activities and beneficiaries is shared on a timely basis.
• Work closely with other Mercy Corps Program managers/staff in coordination and planning to ensure smooth, effective, and efficient programming

Staff management, professional development and team building:

• Supervise and manage all staff (including finance, administration, logistics and program) in Bogotá and field sites to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented according to schedule, budget and quality.
• Supervise all operations carried out by the two partners, providing indirect oversight to program staff employed by the Diócesis of Montelíbano (17 staff) and Pastoral Social/CARITAS (11 staff).
• Supervise additional managers and coordinators as brought into the program portfolio
• Create a work atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellent personnel at all levels.
• Contribute to country team-building efforts and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.

Program support operations:

• In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources and logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management) needs of the program are conducted within policy and with the maximum benefit to the program.
• Ensure that commodity tracking and food distribution activities are in compliance with USAID FFP Regulation 11 and Mercy Corps procedures and policies.
• Monitor adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations
• With the support of the Country Director and Finance and Administration Manager, monitor budgetary expenditures by partners and by Mercy Corps in line with the approved budgets. Propose and justify any budget modifications.
• Ensure that the visibility plan for Mercy Corps, partners and USAID is appropriate executed adhering to Mercy Corps and donor guidelines.


• In coordination with the Mercy Corps Colombia Security Focal Person, the UNDSS and local actors, ensure that security protocols for the program are followed so that beneficiaries, Mercy Corps and partner staff and program commodities and equipment are as safe and secure as possible.

Project design, organizational learning & other functions (10% of time)

• Coordinate with DRR and TSU Climate Change staff on methodologies used by Mercy Corps internationally as well as share experiences developed in Colombia.
• Under the guidance of the Country Director, identify and follow up on potential program ideas for new projects.
Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.
• As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve - we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
• Other duties as assigned by the Country Director.

Accountability to beneficiaries:

• Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Organizational learning

• As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve - we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Supervisory responsibility: Food for Peace CERFN program team


• Reports directly to: Country Director

• Works directly with: Other in-country program managers, Head of Offices, support departments, HQ Program Operations Team members, TSU team members

Knowledge and experience:

• BA/S degree required and MA preferred.
• 5+ years of work experience in project implementation and supervision.
• Proven experience with Emergency Food Assistance and DRR in Latin America
• Proven experience at multi-stakeholder development including community and government representation.
• Excellent communication skills, both written and orally, in English and Spanish.
• Experience and desire in assisting communities in emergency situations.
• Good representational skills that showcase the optimistic and problem-solving nature of the organization and ultimately builds solid, positive relations.
• Creative and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.
• Analytical and report writing skills are necessary.
• Experience in Latin America preferred;
• Fluency in written and spoken Spanish required.
• Patience, perseverance, initiative and a sense of humor required.

Success factors:

The successful Program Manager will be familiar with the opportunities and challenges of emergency response programming, with a strong combination of team leadership, grant management and reporting and donor and government communication skills. S/he will have familiarity with the procedures of food aid distribution. A successful Program Manager will complete activities in a timely manner in accordance with Mercy Corps and donor procedures and guidelines.

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  • Additional location info Bogota
  • Closing Date 23 Jun 2012

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